Updated: Aug 30, 2022
Pearl couscous, also called Israeli couscous, Ptitim or Moghrabieh in the Arab world, is different from couscous. It is actually a small pasta ball made by machine, while couscous is small bits of unprocessed semolina. More on this here.
I have been making this recipe for a few years now and love the burst of Mediterranean flavors this dish has. A very simple recipe that highlights the techniques and flavors of the region, roasted peppers, paprika, and pearl couscous. The pearl couscous is beautifully smoky with a hint of spice and pairs beautifully with the roasted peppers. The yogurt sauce brings the dish together. I serve this as an appetizer on its own for a bright starter, this dish sets the tone for the rest of the meal.
Nigel slater is one of my favorite cookbook authors, food writers and broadcasters and one who has transformed English cuisine. He has received the very coveted OBE for his work in publishing and culinary services. I have a few of his many cookbooks. Seemingly simple cuisine that always is fantastic on the palate, like these potatoes, is a trademark of his cuisine.
For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.
1 cup pearl couscous, toasted preferred if available
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
6-8 scallions, sliced into fine circles
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon hot paprika
Zest of 1 lime or lemon
Juice of 1 lime or lemon
4 tablespoons mint, minced
4 tablespoon cilantro, minced
1/2 cup pine nuts
Salt, to taste
3 peppers of different colors, red, yellow, green or purple, halved longitudinally, deseeded and stems removed
For the yogurt sauce:
1/2 cup yogurt, Greek preferred, whipped smooth
4 tablespoons mint, minced + for garnish
4 tablespoon cilantro, minced + for garnish
Salt, to taste
A pinch of hot paprika to garnish
Cook the pearl couscous as described on the box. Drain if needed and toss in the olive oil to stop the pearls from sticking. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan on low heat and add the scallions. Saute2 for 2 minutes till the scallions are very soft. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the paprika powders and toss well.
Add the couscous and toss well coating the couscous pearls with the paprika oil evenly. Fry on medium heat fo 2 minutes to crisp the couscous a bit.
Take off the heat and add the lemon/lime zest and juice and the mint, cilantro and salt. Toss well to mix evenly. Taste and adjust salt, lime and herbs. The couscous should have a deep beautiful flavor with a hint of heat.
Hea the oven to 375 F.
Fill the peppers with the couscous mix. Place in a Pyrex dish and bake for 45 minutes till the peppers are soft and the couscous has crisped.
While the peppers are cooking make the yogurt sauce by mixing all the ingredients. Set aside in the fridge.
Serve hot or at room temperature garnished with the fresh herbs and lime with some of the yogurt sauce drizzled over the peppers and more on the side.